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Salary and Career Info for a Digital Animator

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a digital animator. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and skills to find out if this is the career for you.

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Digital animators are typically required to have a bachelor's degree in digital animation. Individuals who do well in this field are creative, artistic and have the technical skill needed for this career. It's important for applicants to develop a portfolio of work to demonstrate capabilities to potential employers.

Essential Information

Digital animators are on the artistic and creative end of computer-generated animation for advertising, entertainment, and educational purposes. Completion of a bachelor's degree is usually necessary for entry-level work as a digital animator. A portfolio is often required by employers, and many degree programs allow students to develop professional portfolios.

Required Education Bachelor's typically required
Other Requirements Portfolio generally preferred by employers
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6% for multimedia artists and animators
Median Salary (2015)* $63,970 annually for multimedia artists and animators

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Salary Information and Career Outlook for a Digital Animator

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the median salary earned among all types of multimedia artists and animators, including digital animators, was $63,970 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov). The bottom 10% made $36,930 or less, while the top 10% made $113,600 or more the same year.

The BLS also expected that in line with increased competition for artistic jobs in general, job prospects for those in the field of digital animation would face fierce competition from 2014 to 2024. While there is increasing demand from developers and producers of video games in addition to animated movies and television series, much of the work in animation is going overseas, as foreign animators are often less expensive to hire than domestic artists. Scientific research and medical animation careers are also increasing as computer technology evolves.

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Career Information for a Digital Animator

Digital animators' career paths vary depending on the type of animation they wish to produce. Perhaps the most important aspect in becoming a digital animator is possessing creativity and artistic ability; however, gaining the appropriate training is crucial, as well. While a college degree may not always be necessary, it's generally a requirement to find work as a digital animator.

Education

Many colleges and universities offer an associate's, bachelor's, or master's degree in digital animation; however completion of a bachelor's degree usually gives students the technical and artistic background necessary to begin their careers. Students work with the digital arts creation programs that are used in the digital animation field. For those looking to become scientific digital animators, classes in life sciences or pre-medical studies are typically also required. Acceptance into a digital animation program can be quite competitive; therefore, it's important for prospective students to understand admissions requirements before applying to ensure they're given full consideration.

Career Possibilities

Digital Animation in Entertainment or Advertising

With video games and digitally animated movies becoming increasingly popular and visually intricate, opportunities for digital animators are plentiful. These media require artists who create the scenery, the characters, clothing, lighting, and special effects. Animators must be able to take direction from the art director and producer, as well as work collaboratively with others working on the project.

Digital Animation in Science

Scientific and medical illustrators are needed to digitally reconstruct biological and anatomical images for medical and educational purposes. Additionally, these specialized digital animators may be called upon in legal settings to recreate scientific exhibits.

Digital animators can create visual effects and animation for movies, video games and television, but they also can work to develop images for medicine, education and even courtroom exhibits. Job growth in this field is expected to be stable through 2024; however, more than half of digital animators are self-employed and compete for contract work, which makes this a competitive career field. Salaries vary, depending on the job, but the median was nearly $64,000 in 2015.

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